Jim Fox, Part 4

Here’s the last installment of the Q&A with Jim Fox. Again, thanks to Jim for answering all the questions and providing his insight, not just as a top-notch broadcaster but as a former NHL player…

From Gary B: Where do you see the Kings finishing this year?

Jim Fox: I think the Kings should be a contender for a playoff spot…not much was expected last year and the goaltending was not up to par…if the goaltending is even average, and with the improved depth with the free agent signings, the Kings should be in a fight for 7th or 8th…the difficult thing is every 4th game or so is against San Jose, Dallas or Anaheim…tough sledding in the Pacific.

From Kyle B: Hey Jim, You and Bob make the Kings Telecast the best in the League! Thanks! But, Jim, the Kings have been without THAT key player that really makes a difference for the team since Ziggy Palffy. With Palffy and five minutes left in the game, and down by a goal, there was excitement being that you knew something COULD happen. However in the last years since, there has not been that effective “star” quality player (Demitra was good, but not necessarily a key player). There was no Havlat, Kovolchuk, Heatley, the old Sakic…Last year the only player who could really skate into the zone across the blue line was Kopitar…Do you see the Kings pursuing any player to the caliber of “star” player? Thanks…as far as commentary, you are THE GREAT ONE! (Gretzky wasn’t much of a commentator)

Jim Fox: .The Kings will pursue the “star” player in the future, but the biggest thing right now is for the Kings to improve their current product on the ice in order to attract the top free agents in the future…the Kings also have a lot of assets which can be used for trades etc, but once again, until the Kings get to the playoffs, going after the star player may be a difficult thing to do…if you acquire a star player, it is going to cost you some core players from your current roster…then you are just spinning your wheels…the Kings have placed a huge value in developing the younger players along with some free agent acquisitions…it is a long process, but hopefully we will some positive results this year…that will put the Kings in a better position to take the next step…thanks for the kind words and thanks for your support.

From Drew: Jim, many thanks for taking the time during your vacation to talk with the fans! My question is this – how frustrating is it for you, the players and management to have a great sport like hockey being run into the ground year after year after year by a complete fool like Bettman?

Jim Fox: Not a Bettman fan I see…I actually am enjoying the games more in the past 2 years than I have in a while…I think the new rule standard has made the games more free flowing and have created many more scoring chances than we had (by far) than during the “Trap” era…I don’t think we’ll see a huge increase in goals because the goalies are so talented…the salary cap went up again this year which means the NHL is in good economic shape…and we have the fans to thanks for that…I know he is not the most popular person in the NHL, but many good things have happened under his watch and as far as the on-ice product…looks pretty good to me.

From CBGB: Jim, Its always great to talk puck with you – you’re always very open and candid with your opinions and it is always appreciated. With that said, a few questions:

1) Why pay Calder 2.75 mil – what has he ever done to deserve that kind of salary

2) Why didn’t they resign Tom Kostopolous and who do you feel will take up the slack for protecting the players in the middleweight division. Old man Thornton?

3) Nagy. He couldn’t get along with Wayne Gretzky, how is he going to adapt to Marc Crawford?

4) You and I both know Frolov stepped it up after he was most likely going to be dealt to Carolina for Jack Johnson. Do you think he stays, or is there talk of acquiring more DL/MC type players?

5) Do you feel the same way we feel about Modry?

6) How DUMB was Aaron Miller? Held out for 2 years, but only got one at only 300K more than Modry.

7) Stuart. A step in the right direction, or another Norstrom?

8) If Cammalleri is awarded anything over 5 million, is he traded?

9) You and I have talked about Dustin Brown’s “hockey sense”. Does he still fit in, or do you think he gets pushed back to the 3rd line with Armstrong?

10) O’Sullivan. Does he have what it takes “upstairs” to stick around, or will the coaches patience be very thin this year?

Jim Fox: Great to hear from you…I’ll do my best to respond to your concerns…

1) 2.75 million doesn’t go as far as it used to…I think the Kings are looking for Kyle to be a player that can help in a lot of different areas…he hasn’t been as consistent as he should be (his conditioning needs to improve)…he has been an impact player with Chicago, the Kings will need to see that again to make it worth the 2.7 million.

2) I hate tom see Tom Kostopoulous go…anyone who has spent any time with him, knows he is a quality person…he is a game “middleweight” as you said…team toughness will be a concern and that spot remains open and up for grabs…it is usually relatively easy to fill that type of role.

3) Nagy is at the point in his career where he has something to prove and the Kings are hoping that will motivate him to be the point-a-game player he was…everyone knows that the Kings need some more skill up front to help the young guys and Nagy can be that guy…he’s not in a position to go against any coach at this point…he needs to step it up.

4) Frolov is always a puzzle…I think there is no doubt he has improved each year but there is still a lot to prove…it’s tough to give up what he brings…puck possession etc…what he needs to do is to do it over 82 games…I think it’s tough to give up his skill factor…at least another year to see what he can do.

5) It is obvious that many people are not big supporters of Jaroslav Modry…I do know that he brings many elements…he is not a dynamic player, but he fills his role…I think, because of his size, people have always wanted him to be more physical…it just isn’t part of his game…Andy Murray played him more than any other defenseman in his last stint with the Kings…I get the feeling that no matter what points I bring up in the Modry debate, I am not going to change many minds…I don’t expect him to be an “impact” player…just solid and I think he brings that.

6) Aaron Miller’s health will be a concern for the rest of his career.

7) Stuart has much more offensive ability than Norstrom (many players do, that wasn’t Matti’s role) but not sure what you mean “another Norstrom”…Matti was very effective in his role…Stuart is more rounded than Matti but if he brings as much to the table as Matti did, I’ll take it.

8) If Cammalleri gets over 5 million…wow…not too bad for 1 impact season…but the market is the market…those who watch the games know I think Cammalleri is an “impact” player and if he gets a “passer” to play with, then his goal totals should continue to climb…I think that part of Dean Lombardi’s plan is to be in a situation where you are able to retain all of your current players that are not unrestricted free agents…I assume this applies to Cammalleri.

9) Dustin Brown will play in the NHL for another 10 years or so…as you mentioned, what his role will be is the issue at this stage…he is still developing…I think he will be given a chance to improve his offensive numbers, but that could be from a 3rd line position…if he is going to score more, he will have to change his mindset and become a little more “selfish” and think about offense more…the hitting element will always be part of his game, but I would sacrifice a little of that to see if he can put up 2nd line offensive numbers…if not…he’s on your 3rd line and hits everything in sight.

10) O’Sullivan must continue where he left off…he started to get a “feeling” for what was expected of him and he was more confident and more effective at the end of the year…I still think he is young enough that the coaches will not back off and will continue to push him in the non offensive areas…he has improved, but he hasn’t “made it” yet…still a long way to go…but every time I see him pick a top corner with a hard shot, it makes all of the patience worth it.

Talk to you soon!

From Vahe: Jim, What is your favorite moment you shared with Bob in the booth? Thanks.

Jim Fox: It’s tough to pick one moment, but one game does come to mind…Game 7 of the Toronto series back in 1993…through the whole game you could tell just how much Bob wanted the Kings to make it to the finals…his calls and his energy were just fantastic…near the end of the game, I was supposed to leave the booth, before the game ended, in order to get downstairs to do post-game locker room interviews…with a 2 goal lead it would have been easy to leave, but then the Leafs made it a 1 goal game and we had to get through the last minute…the producer kept telling me to leave and get downstairs and during the last minute I was in an out of the booth trying to decide what the best course of action would be, but, I didn’t want to leave the booth and Bob’s call made it so difficult to leave…during the last 30 seconds or so, because of the broadcast booth set-up, I couldn’t see the game (either on a monitor or live) I could only hear Bob’s call…that’s what kept me up there…even though I was supposed to leave, I just felt like I had to stay a listen to Bob…when there was about 4 seconds left, I could tell by Bob’s inflection, that the Kings were out of danger and the game was over…only then did I start my trip down to the dressing room…that was my favorite moment “in the booth” with Bob, even though I was out of the booth too.

From Gabby: Jim, Love the Kings, and love you and Bob doing the telecasts! I was thrilled when Lubo Visnovsky got his much-deserved raise and contract extension. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll be a lifelong King. Do you think this is even possible in the current free agency era?

Jim Fox: Thanks for your comments about the broadcasts…great to have Lubo back…Dean Lombardi felt it was extremely important to get the extension done and now it’s done…due to Lubo’s age and the term of his contract, there is a good chance he could end his career with the Kings…but, that is too far into the future to tell…history tells us that it is very unusual that a players finishes his career with the team he started with…let’s hope Lubo is an exception.

From Eugene: Hi Jim, First, thanks for providing the insight that you do during Kings games. I have been following hockey for almost 15 years now and I learn something new every game. Do you see Fox Sports expanding coverage of the Kings ? We don’t always get the pre and post show (I think only during home games) and it would be nice if there were some sort of weekly show on the Kings that would create a human interest element. Again, thanks for everything.

Jim Fox: As far as I know, there are no plans to expand coverage for the Kings…the plan will be to televise 65 games this season…most of the home games (but not all) have pre-game shows and I don’t think there are plans to expand…I know a weekly show has been discussed…if it is not no FSN, I know the Kings are planning to expand coverage of their website…maybe, there will be something there…thanks so much for your comments about the telecasts.

From Patrick: Jim, what was the worst pummeling you got in a game? I know this wasn’t your role, but perhaps you have a memory of a game that got particularly out of control.

Jim Fox: You’re right…that wasn’t my role…thank God…as far as I can remember, I was only involved in 2 situations where I received 5 minutes for fighting and I don’t think I threw a punch in either case.
The hardest I was hit is easy to remember now, but at the time, I has no idea what had happened…it was game at the Great Western Forum…I had the puck behind Buffalo’s net and tried to bring it to the front…well Mike Foligno had other ideas…he lowered his shoulder and hit me full speed right in the jaw…I went spinning into the air and when I landed I had no idea where I was…I was never unconscious, but I was out of it…I do remember being on all fours on the ice…I looked around and it was all fuzzy…I said to myself, I know I can’t get up, so just stay where you are
and Pete (Pete Demers, Kings trainer) will come and help you…that’s exactly what happened…the next thing a knew I was sitting on the Kings bench with about 12 minutes remaining on the clock (1st period)…the next thing I knew, I was looking at the clock and there was about 2 minutes remaining…I leaned over to Dave Taylor on the bench and told Dave I thought the clock was broken…Dave then went to get Pete and he immediately took me to the dressing room…what I wasn’t aware of was that I played 3 shifts that I couldn’t remember then and still can’t remember…then I remember taking a shower and then I was talking to the doctor but didn’t remember anything about how I got in and out of the shower…the doctor asked me some questions about what I had to eat for pre-game meal that day…how I got to the arena…I couldn’t remember a thing…I was diagnosed with a slight concussion and missed about 3 days…not a fun time, but something I will always remember…I think?

From (award-winning columnist) Tom Hoffarth: If I was to have friends over for dinner and plan to serve salmon with green beans and perhaps a zesty salad, what kind of wine would you suggest I serve with that?

Jim Fox: Tough choice…due to the zesty salad and then salmon…a nice light California Pinot Noir would be good since Pinot Noir goes with just about anything.
If I could have a glass with each, I would go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the salad, if it’s the type of “zesty” salad I’m thinking of…there may be a battle between the “zestiness” of both the salad and the wine, but I’d love to experience the winner of that battle.
With the salmon, the norm to go with a Pinot Noir, not a bad choice…make sure it’s a Pinot Noir style (not some of the big Pinot Noir’s that wants to be a Syrah)…personally, I’d go with a Chianti…I’m very impressed with the Chianti’s the last 2 years or so…or even a Valpolicella…love those Italian wines.
What’s with the “green beans” too healthy for you.

From Ryan: Great hair Foxy, my wife loves you. Do you think Modry will play as our #6 D-man or do you think a youngster — Petiot, Piskula, Harrold — will take his spot? Also, is O’Sullivan a lock for the team? Or do you think other rookie forwards could take the available roster spots?

Jim Fox: Since the Kings are still in the mode of developing players, I think we will see guys like Harrold/Piskula/Petiot during the season back on defense…with a guy like Modry as the 6th defenseman or so, I assume the Kings will try to get looks at as many young guys as possible…having said that, the Kings should be battling for a playoff spot, so they will have to balance that, with developing players…there are always injuries, so expect some of the less experienced guys to get a look.
With O’Sullivan…he took strides last year…he impressed with his work ethic at the prospect camp this summer, but, by no means is he a lock…it’s not that anyone else is going to take his spot, but he still has to earn it…he is not considered an “established” player yet…that is still a ways off…when there are doubts about your work habits, it takes a long time to get rid of that reputation…no doubt he looks promising, the skill is there and he is more committed, but he still has to prove that he will continue to show that he is “willing” to do what it takes.

From Hipcheck: I know I’m late to the dance Jim but what wine are you drinking these days?

Jim Fox: I like to try as many different wines as I can, but, there are always favorites.
I like just about any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough…some of them get a little to “grassy” or “herbaceous”, just most are just crisp fruit.
My favorite Chardonnay comes from Burgundy, France…I like the “Chassagne-Montrachet” region the best, although I was fortunate enough to taste a Grand Cru “Corton-Charlemagne” and it was outstanding.
Some of the reds I’ve been drinking…
Chianti, Chianti, Chianti…I really like the style that has been released the last 2-3 years or so…enough “earth” to keep it Old World, but clean fruit through and through…
Try a “Valpolicella Ripasso” from Italy…usually goes well with lamb, pork or beef.
Any “Brunello di Montalcino” works for me.
A friend of mine (Joe) “Manhattan Fine Wines” (manhattanfinewines.com) turned me onto a super value in the “Columbia Crest” (Washington) Merlot 2004…$8.99 and just fantastic.
Just starting to get into the Champagne/Sparkling wine area…always looking for a good value…Moet & Chandon “White Star” is fine for me…anything from Domaine Chandon (Yountville) and Schramsberg (Calistoga)
in Napa…just starting to get into the Italian “Prosecco”…seems very light and starts off the night well.

From Mike: If it is not too late I would love to see what Jim thinks of the Edmonton-Penner offer sheet. Does he know about the LA Kings drinking game? Everytime Jim says STANDPOINT you have to take a drink. Everytime he says TWEENERS you take two drinks!

Jim Fox: From My STANDPOINT…I had no idea there was a “drinking” game” based on how many times I say “STANDPOINT”…actually, from my STANDPOINT, I had no idea that I said it so many times…from my STANDPOINT, I’ll have to try not to use it so many times…I’m just thinking of your health and would not want you to do too much drinking.
As far as the Penner offer goes…we will see more and more of that when teams feel they can sign a player because the other team may have salary cap issues…Brian Burke has said he plans to match all offers, I assume he will do that here because of Penner’s age…but there will come a time when a team cannot match because the match will put them too far over the cap or the owner wants to control the spending…interesting times as the salary cap issues are still being worked out and completely understood.

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